The Testimony Of Jesus Christ–A Mistaken Identity (Pt. 3)

Last time we talked about the apostle John being in the isle of Patmos for “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.”  I think John is speaking of the testimony that back on the mainland got him in trouble.  Jesus had said to His disciples:

But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me, and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me from the beginning… (Jn. 15.26,27).

It was the Spirit of Christ in John that enabled him to have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  John by the Holy Spirit was convicting those around him of sin—the same thing Jesus had done when He was here (Jn. 16.9).  Again it wasn’t appreciated.  It got John banished to Patmos.

But I think this “testimony of Jesus Christ” refers also to what Jesus had in mind to speak to John on Patmos.  He had much yet to say to John, and through John to us all—this prophecy we know as The Revelation of Jesus Christ.  This prophecy is what “God gave unto Him (unto Jesus Christ), to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass” (Rev. 1.1).  And so Jesus the Word of God, the faithful and true witness, is testifying of what God has now given Him.  It is a prophecy.

And He sent and signified it by His angel—His messenger—unto His servant John.

I believe this was the same angel that later in the prophecy John was tempted to worship, thinking this one was Jesus Christ Himself.  But the angel would not permit John to worship him.  He was not Jesus Christ, but had “the testimony of Jesus.”

See thou do it not:  I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19.10).

The Greek original has the article there.  “The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of the prophecy.”  The same words are used in Rev. 1.3, which the KJV translates this prophecy.

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy…

It should say, “the words of the prophecy.”

We will speak more of this in a minute.

The word angel simply means “messenger,” and it takes discernment to discover whether it’s referring to one of the heavenly angelic order, or simply a man, a messenger sent by God.  Sometimes the distinction isn’t clear.  But in this case we’re told clearly, for the angel himself tells us clearly: he is a man: “thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren…” So we gather he was one of the saints beyond the veil.  (Very quickly here, this gives us a little glimpse that moving beyond the veil of this life does not mean idly sitting on a cloud playing a harp all day.)

John is tempted a second time in this same manner at the close of the book.

And I John saw these things, and heard them.  And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book.  Worship God” (Rev. 22.8,9).

So here was a man—a prophet—that John was ready to bow down to and worship.  And it happened twice.  John obviously was having trouble with this.  Here before him was a man so like Jesus Christ that John actually thought it was Jesus Himself.  And so he fell at his feet to worship him.

But the man forbade him.  His testimony was, “I’m a man just like you, John.  What you are seeing in my life is actually the Testimony of Jesus Christ.  What you’re hearing me speak—I’m only speaking what Jesus Christ is speaking.  What I am showing you–it’s what Jesus Christ is showing me.  It’s Jesus Christ you’re seeing.  It’s Jesus Christ who is prophesying.  It’s the testimony of Jesus that is the Spirit of the prophecy.”

The man called himself a prophet.  The prophecy he was involved in—the prophecy we know as our book of The Revelation—was nothing less than the shining forth of “That Prophet,” the Son of God Himself.  God spake in times past to the fathers through the prophets in various ways—a word here, a word there, a portion here, a portion there (Heb. 1.1).  But in these last days He hath spoken to us in a Son, who is the full, complete message of Himself, the outshining of Himself, the “express image of His Person.”  That is the Testimony of Jesus Christ.  He spoke only what the Father was speaking.  He did only what the Father was doing.  He revealed the Father.  He was so one with the Father that those who saw Him… it was the Father they were seeing.  Yet Jesus was not the Father.  He was the Son of the Father.  He was “the faithful and true Witness,” who by the Holy Spirit bore witness to and shone forth the Father in all He said and did.  That was His testimony.  “The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do…”  That is the Testimony of Jesus Christ.

And that’s what this man had.  “I am of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus…”  We’re inclined to think that it’s blasphemy that an ordinary man should have this kind of testimony—that those seeing him would mistake him for Jesus Christ Himself.  But here is at least one man from the past who had this very testimony.  No doubt there are many others.

I ask the question, then.  Have you or I ever been mistaken for Jesus Christ?  You and I—are we so committed to speaking only what He speaks, and doing only what He does, that we too have the testimony of Jesus Christ?  Have we become so like Him in love, in holiness, in righteousness, in mercy, in patience, in humility… in all His graces… in the power and manifestation of His Spirit and Presence in our lives… there is such Light about us… there is such a shining forth of Jesus Christ Himself in our lives… that people around us are tempted to fall down at our feet and worship us?

Would that we too might have the same opportunity, like that man beyond the veil, to forbid it, and call others to worship God alone!

8 responses »

  1. I was thinking of the negative response we get as followers of Jesus. Or others that say something like, oh you’re just like your father.
    So if someone accuses you of being just like His disciples, rejoice for you’re on your way to becoming just like Jesus. There is nothing too hard for Jesus.
    Alden Pocha

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    • Yes, Alden, that’s quite something. We need to remember that when trouble or persecution or rejection comes our way. That’s always hard, but if it happens because we’re starting to be like Jesus, what a cause for rejoicing that is!

      Thanks for sharing, Alden.

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  2. An encouraging word that Jesus had spoken is Mat.10:22. And ye shall be hated of all men for my names sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved..
    Quite the promise, only possible though, if one has come to that place of knowing the Lord. Truly knowing Him. That is quite the thought Allan to forbid someone to worship oneself and tell them to worship God only. I think I have probably been more programmed to be ready for persecution rather than to be an initiator of the truth. The balance of both is a thought for prayer. Hmmm.
    Thanks, Tim Wall.

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    • Good thought, Tim. And, as I thought about it, I think you’re right. You hear a lot of talk these days about being ready for trouble, and persecution. Different ones like Paul Washer and Andrew Strom are warning that persecution is coming to North American Christians. I think the thing we fail to realize is that it’s “initiating the truth” that will bring this on. We ourselves are going to be the “initiators” of this persecution. So far “the world” is more or less content to leave us alone. But I believe God is going to answer prayer and bring us into a deeper experience of the Holy Spirit. When that happens, “Marvel not if the world hate you,” Jesus said. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.” What He is saying is that the Comforter in our lives– the Holy Spirit– will “testify of Jesus,” will bear witness to Jesus. And because of that, “ye also shall bear witness,” He said. The world will see Jesus in us, and there will be consequences.

      Thanks for the good comment, Tim.

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  3. O to be as Stephen and have such light in us that we shine forth this level of glory. You know as I read your blog Allan, it’s as if the Holy Spirit always gives me something to say and the words just flow. Now as I read this portion I am reminded of something the Lord gave to me a time ago. I was in a church at the time in a Sunday service I think. There was alot of emotion being displayed. Now I am a lover of the Spirit of the Lord but there is also emotion and jumping on bangwagons that goes on. But in the midst of it all I felt the Lord drawing me personally away. Then I would say that what was revealed to me were the following words; “Many will run in the true day of testing to come”. In that moment I wondered whether there is a complete wrong focus in the western church. A great deception even. We are human beings and with a tendency to follow something that appears to be flowing. Some concept of revival where the sons of God are raised and where every workplace, school, hospital etc is affected by the manifestation. Inherent in this is the idea that the world wants the truth to be revealed; they are waiting for it. I did not return to the church as a great bubble of un-reality was being created and preserved by all who took part. Church is easy when there is blessing. People pop up and take the microphone and spill out all sorts of things based in emotion rather than truth. What if, amongst the massed ranks of the Body at the moment, there is a great sifting going on? A preparation. Those who will not run when the going gets tough. When comfy church ceases. Those that have not accepted the armour of Saul as the armour of Saul is the armour of the church; the armour of man. This will call for the Davids who have got to truly know their God. Not perfect, but with the heart to become perfected. Those for whom becoming perfected and coming into the fullness of what He is calling them into has become a constant ache within them that never goes away. Those that are carrying all the time the desire, the anticipation, the expectation…”I must become what He has called me to become…I must yield….I must surrender…..it is the very reason I was brought into life….”.

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    • “Many will run in the true day of testing to come”.

      “What if, amongst the massed ranks of the Body at the moment, there is a great sifting going on? A preparation. Those who will not run when the going gets tough. When comfy church ceases.”

      Thanks for sharing, Martin. (The above quotes are from your comment.)

      I am reminded of the Lord’s words to the church of Philadelphia:

      “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience (or, endurance), I also will keep thee from (or, out from) the hour of temptation (or, testing) which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3.10). I believe you are right– there is a great sifting, a great preparation, taking place right now. It’s what we are going right now that will determine whether or not we “run when the going gets tough.”

      Many are going through things that are tough enough right now. Maybe they wonder how they would ever endure tougher things. But if we are seeking to endure in the things we are going through now, if we are seeking to be faithful, if we are seeking to keep our fellowship with the Lord in good repair, if we are seeking to keep the word God has given us, if we are doing some “keeping,” …He, too, promises to do some keeping in the hour that is going to come upon the whole world… and everything around us comes unglued. “I also will keep thee…”

      Let’s take advantage of this hour we’re now in… and do some keeping.

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      • Thanks for this Allan. It really confirms alot to me. And the insight on the encounter John had was good. I still maintain there are many Christians who feel this deeper calling going on or have expressed it as such. However, I also feel that quite often it is dressed up in church environments with terms such as “hunger” and yet all the time there is the infiltration of what may be called Babylon in the church. So that the hunger becomes a “self” thing or a “getting” from God thing. The dictates of the flesh so that the focus is that “we are worth it” in our consumer culture. I have prayed much that the younger generation will come into a new place within the Body. I am taken back to what you shared a few weeks ago who were shot dead in your nation. In the church I see young people who have been mis-led, and include myself, by this type of “take the blessing without cost” type of discipleship – which is actually no discipleship at all. I always wonder how I would fair in one of these hostile environments where Christians are being murdered for their faith. I feel that there will be persecutions to come for us here in the west. We must be full ingrafted into the vine. I think when this hunger is actually re-defined as a calling and as something that is being required of us; that we have to be active participants in the process, it is then that we are tested as to whether we will fall away from the deeper words. Those that have this “something else” going on inside them need to define what it is. I feel this is the cry of the father – he is stirring hearts and then testing the level of response he gets. He wants those to come forth as true disciples and yet when we are challenged by what it involves, then we may be tempted to return to the church system and its routtines. As I read a book called “A Way Through the Wilderness” I see that George H. Warnock explicitly states that these church systems can become places that are in effect offering a “shortcut” to true discpleship.Lets re-vist the words of Jesus himself with the appropriate balance. It may be convenient in human nature and the flesh to avoid trials but here is as explicit a statement you will hear; “In this world you will have tribulations” and yet the assurance that He has overcome this world (John 16:33) And more so, it is in the tribulations that we are entering into something of Christ; we have the privelege to share in suffering as He who suffered for us. We have not touched the suffering that He went through for us. How can we not give Him all our heart and all we are? Only He is worthy. We do not give ourselves to Him in order to “get”. Its our love for Him that compels us; because He first loved us. Wonderful Jesus; count us worthy to die for your the sake of your name.

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        • Hi Martin:

          Your comment is very insightful: “I think when this hunger is actually re-defined as a calling and as something that is being required of us; that we have to be active participants in the process.”

          To see the hunger in us as God calling us–

          …And so He is looking for the response of obedience to that call.

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